Current Waters: Fluke Fishing & The Inshore Classic
Capt. Carl Bois •
It’s the August doldrums. And the striped bass are making us work for it. We’re still getting some, but it’s not like it was earlier in the summer. It takes a little more knowledge.
Bluefishing is still solid. They are still scattered all over. Bonita and false albacore (albies) are here – a sign of the end of summer season. You’ve still got to be at the right place at the right time. The tuna bite has been fun too; the recreational size tuna especially.
Black sea bass is soon to close. Please be mindful that the season closes September 4th and you won’t be able to keep any after that. Be aware of the regulations. Someone manages to screw that up every year.
One of my favorite tournaments of the year is about to begin and the best thing is that it’s open to everyone. The 17th annual Inshore Classic runs from September 4th to October 8th and hosted by the Nantucket Angler’s Club, but you don’t need to be a member to join in the fishing fun. A favorite fall pastime, the Inshore Classic is a five-week fishing tournament focusing on bluefish, striped bass, false albacore and bonito.
Now primarily catch and release (of course you can keep whatever is in season) you can fish from shore or boat. Sign up just opened and is now on-line. There are divisions for all tackle ($75), fly fishing ($75), or a combo ($100). The junior division is free, as usual, to encourage a new generation of anglers. All participants receive a tournament t-shirt and official fish ruler to be used in photos of your catch. These items can be picked up at the Angler’s Club, Bill Fisher Tackle, and Nantucket Tackle Center.
Back this year after a COVID hiatus if the opening party. Saturday, September 3rd at 5 p.m. at the Nantucket Anglers Club for participants. It’s always a fun time catching up with people after the busy summer and talking fishing.
One bonus of the tournament is that adult participants can use the club Sunday-Wednesday even if they aren’t members. It’s a nice way to check out the club. The Inshore Classic raises money for the Nantucket Angler's Club Scholarship fund. This event is made possible by the generous donations of tournament sponsors.
Prizes are given away for the biggest fish of each species each week in all categories, so there is plenty of opportunity to earn a prize. Major prizes are awarded for the biggest fish overall of each species in each category. Additionally grand champions will be crowned in each category/division to the anglers with the most cumulative length of his/her four species of fish. You can keep an eye on the leaderboard here or read this article weekly for updates.
While I was sitting here thinking about what to write, I’ve been eating my favorite in-shore fish to eat: fluke. The fluke fishing certainly isn’t what it used to be, but we still have a decent fishery.
The fluke or summer flounder (Paralichthys dentatus) is a marine flatfish that is found in the Atlantic Ocean off the East Coast of the United States and Canada. It is especially abundant in waters from North Carolina to Massachusetts. Like most members of the left-eye flounders, they can change the color and pattern of their dark side to match the surrounding bottom and are also capable of rapidly burrowing into muddy or sandy bottoms. The Maria Mitchell Association aquarium will often have a fluke in one of their tanks to see one in person and how it behaves on the bottom.
Fluke move inshore in the spring, along the sandy shoals of our island, where they will stay until autumn or early winter. In the winter months, fluke stay offshore in deeper ocean waters along the continental shelf edges. Fluke do not just stick to hunting along the ocean floor; they swim fast and can chase their prey, even up to the ocean’s surface. Their aggressive nature makes for some exciting fishing!
Like I said, they are my favorite in-shore eating fish. Fluke have a firm, mild-tasting white meat. When fresh-caught, just a little butter and panko broiled in the oven with some fresh summer herbs is a perfect meal. Poached, fried, broiled, baked fluke is very versatile.